Rough Weekend Has Auburn On The Ropes

Garrett Cooper

Auburn dropped a series to Missouri over the weekend and now has to face a talented Ole Miss team at home.

Auburn, Ala.—Needing a big weekend at Missouri, Auburn instead put itself in bigger trouble in the race for Hoover and a possible NCAA Tournament berth by losing the series to the first-year SEC Tigers. Now tied for 11th in the league standings at 7-11 with just three series remaining, Auburn has plenty of work left to do if the Tigers hope to continue playing after the regular season.

Getting a win in the series opener on Friday night thanks to a pair of home runs by Garrett Cooper, Auburn was hoping to keep that momentum going after a rainout on Saturday forced two seven-inning games on Sunday. Instead the Tigers scored just two runs in 3-1 and 4-1 losses to Missouri. On the mound Auburn did a solid job with the exception of a three-run inning in both games. That proved to be the difference in the potentially killer weekend for Coach John Pawlowski's club.

The biggest problem came at the plate where the top two hitters in the lineup Ryan Tella and Jordan Ebert went a combined 1-22. Throw in the fact that Auburn still hasn't had a hit with the bases loaded in SEC play (now 0-19) and you have plenty reason of concern the next three weeks.

Still with Ole Miss, Florida and Arkansas remaining on the schedule, Auburn likely needs a minimum of six league wins to have a chance to earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament. That's a tall order considering all three are likely headed to the postseason, but that's the position Auburn is put itself in.

Player of The Week: This is the easiest choice of the season as the senior first baseman Cooper was 6-10 with two home runs and three RBI in the series vs. Missouri. Both of his home runs came in the Friday night win as he carried the offense. For the year Cooper has raised his average to .347 and has a team-leading six home runs and 33 RBI.

Pitcher of The Week: Earning his third win of the season, junior Conner Kendrick allowed just one run on seven hits in eight and one/third innings on Friday night. He struck out a career high eight batters in the victory. For the season Kendrick is 3-2 with a 1.94 ERA.

Up Next: Coming off a series loss at home to Kentucky last weekend, Ole Miss enters next weekend at 11-10 in SEC play. The player to watch will be Friday night starter Bobby Wahl. Undefeated at 8-0 with an ERA of only 1.22, Wahl will make for a tough start for the Tigers in the series opener.

SEC Standings

1. Vanderbilt 19-2 39-6
2. LSU 16-5 39-6
3. Arkansas 13-7 29-15
4. South Carolina 13-8 33-12
5. Florida 12-9 25-20
6. Alabama 11-9 27-18
7. Ole Miss 11-10 31-14
8. Mississippi State 10-11 30-13
9. Kentucky 9-12 26-17
10. Texas A&M 7-13 22-22
11. Auburn 7-14 25-18
Missouri 7-14 15-24
13. Tennessee 6-15 18-24
14. Georgia 4-16 16-28

This Week's SEC Schedule

Ole Miss at Auburn
Georgia at Tennessee
Florida at LSU
Vanderbilt at South Carolina
Alabama at Mississippi State
Missouri at Texas A&M
Arkansas at Kentucky

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